ISLAMABAD  – Musicians from Pakistan and Poland mesmerised the audience of twin cities at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) with their melodies in a live concert “Poland-Pakistan; Sounds from Two Continent”.

The event was jointly organized by The Embassy of Republic of Poland in Islamabad and Ministry of National Heritage and Integration with performing artistes Maria Poianowska, Marta Solek Mlynarska, Dr Taimur Khan, Muhammed Ajmal Khan and Muhammed Azam Khan.

The event aimed to bring musicians from Poland and Pakistan closer and help strengthen cultural ties between the countries. Through this tour and cultural exchange programme, there will an exchange of ideas, information, values, traditions, beliefs and other aspects of culture with the intention of fostering mutual understanding of the cultures of both Poland and Pakistan, the organisers said.

Azam Khan hails from a strong musical tradition-family. He is the son of the legendary Bakshi Salamat Qawwal. As a vocalist, he belongs to Qawwal Gharana, He has also mastered classical, semi-classical, ghazal and sufi forms of vocal music. He has been performing for more than 45 years on many reputable music programmes.

The event also featured instrumental music on Bilgoray Suka by Maria Pomianowska, Suka is a traditional Polish folk instrument. Dr Taimur Khan is a prominent Sarangi player and a leading disciple of Ustad Allah Rakha - the last great living Sarangi maestro of Pakistan. The Sarangi is a bowed, short-necked instrument found in Pakistan and other parts of the Indian Subcontinent. The sounds of sarangi is said to be as expressive and evocative as hundred colors. Muhammed Ajmal Khan is a leading Tabla player of “Punjab Gharana” and a pupil of the late illustrious Tabla Maestro, Miyan Shaukat Hussain. In recognition of his outstanding achievements and distinguished merit, he was the recipient of the prestigious President pride of Performance Award by the Government of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a series of artisans training workshops are being organized at Lok Virsa complex, under the aegis of Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage) in collaboration with SUNGI Development Foundation.

Four workshops under this series have already taken place whereas the fifth one is currently in progress, which is attended by 25 master artisans in various craft fields. Artisans participating in the workshop include Farhat Bibi in lacquer art from DI Khan. Asmat Bibi in embroidery from DI Khan, Zahid

Riaz in wax printing from Peshawar,. Nazish Bibi in mirror work from Multan, Abdul Waheed in pottery from Taxila,. Humera Bibi in gota kinari from Multan, Saleem Bukhari in embroidery from Multan, Muhammad Ramazan in khussa (shoe) making from Kamalia, Imdad Ali in block printing from Hyderabad, Nigar Anees in embroidery from Karachi, Muhammad Younas in Ajrak block printing from Hala, Sobia Abid and Zubaida Bibi in crochet work from Sargodha, Sadaf Khalid in rilli work from Multan, Shabana in appliqué work from Rawalpindi, Kaneez Fatima and Rubina Matin in embroidery from Balochistan and others.

Most prominent among these creative artisans is Farhat Bibi hailing from KPK who specializes in lacquer (wood) work. She learnt this art from her parents at an early age and is transferring it successfully to the next generations.

She has been participating in Lok Virsa’s annaul festival, known as Lok Mela, for the last several years and winning recognition of her talent at the national level.

Talking to media, Lok Virsa’s executive director Khalid Javaid informed that the project is intended to provide capacity building for marginalised craft persons mainly from rural districts with poor lower income groups. They are home-based workers living in far-flung deprived areas, with no or limited linkage with big markets to sell their products and they are being exploited by the middleman for sale of their products.